December 13th was the birthday of my friend Chris and on this weekend we used to drive out to Swedish Hill Wineries to buy wine for Christmas presents and to enjoy a tradition that the owners celebrated with special treats and music…Santa Lucia Day!
Today the feast is celebrated on December 13th though it was originally celebrated on the darkest – shortest day of the year December 21. In America we call her St. Lucy, though Santa Lucia day is celebrated in Italian, Germanic and Scandinavian countries like Sweden.
In Sweden custom has it that the eldest daughter gets up early and wearing a traditional dress of white with a red sash and a crown of leaves and berries that holds candles… wakes the family singing “Santa Lucia” and feeding them coffee and St. Lucia buns. The candles as a symbol of “light” why in some places it is called the Festival of Light!
Lucy the saint was born in 283 to rich parents, losing her father at an early age. It is said she refused to marry giving herself to God becoming a “Virgin Saint” who has been regarded as doing many miracles. She is also the Patron Saint of Syracuse, Sicily, where the legend states that she ended a famine on her “feast day” when grain loaded ships sailed into Sicily’s Harbor.
Wonderful traditions and stories like these are what make this season special…not just Christmas with it commercialism…so I hope all families everywhere remember (or make) their own family traditions and pass them on to the young and to their friends.
So tomorrow our little group of museum friends will be celebrating December Birthdays and Santa Lucia Day!
I myself wish Chris was still alive and we could continue in our little holiday “Tradition”, the wine was just a bonus!
Well sing Santa Lucia with Elvis...think Tradition!